Tuesday January 30th
As the North Atlantic Basketball Academy’s plane landed at Logan Airport in Boston, Massachusetts, the twenty-three 15-18 year old basketball players were excited about their 15 day basketball and educational journey of the eastern United States. For many of the players it would be their first time on American soil and a fantastic opportunity to showcase their basketball talents. The group, from Dublin, Ireland, accompanied by coach and academy director (also acting tour leader) Dermot Russell and assistant tour leader Olga Trofimova, were met at the airport by Tom their bus driver and driven to their hotel for the check-in.
Wednesday January 31st
This morning after breakfast, the group (commonly called NABA) boarded their bus for a short drive to Tufts University for a practice session. Both the U20 team and the U18 team were able to conduct good practices in preparation for their upcoming games.
After practice the group boarded the bus headed to Downtown Boston to meet their tour guide Peter and a tour of Boston. Following their tour and dinner in Quincy Market, the team was able to find tickets to see the Boston Celtics play. After the game, a tired group made their way back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.
Thursday February 1st
Today NABA was on the move again. This time they were headed to Springfield, Massachusetts home of the Basketball Hall of Fame and a self-guided tour of the museum. For three hours they immersed themselves in the interactive exhibits, skills challenges, and shooting contests.
From there they headed out for their first games in the US just a couple of miles away at Commonwealth Academy. Both the U20 and U18 teams competed against Commonwealth Academy’s teams on a fun night for all. It was then time for a good night’s rest at their hotel as they would be on their way tomorrow to Providence and the National Prep School Invitational Tournament.
Friday February 2nd
After breakfast the bus departed for Providence, Rhode Island. After unpacking for their three-night stay they made their way to Narragansett High School for an U18 game with the US Naval Prep JV team. Following a pizza party for both teams, the group returned to Providence and Rhode Island College where the U20 team played its first game in the NPSI Tournament against Ridley College Prep from Canada.
Saturday February 3rd
It was an early wake up and a short drive back to RIC for another U20 game. This time the competition was one of the top teams in the US, Sunrise Christian Academy from Kansas. Onsite for the game today was SJI Tour Director Jim Walker who spent the rest of the day with the team. After lunch and some rest, the team traveled to Warwick, Rhode Island and a U18 game with the Bishop Hendricken’s JV team. Following the game both teams socialized as NABA was treated to a feast of typical cuisine from New England, clam chowder and crab dumplings.
Sunday February 4th
This morning the group took some time for themselves and some well deserved rest before the U20 team played an afternoon game with Thetford Academy, one of the best teams in Canada. In the evening gathered together to watch one of America’s greatest sporting events on TV, the Super Bowl.
Monday February 5th
After breakfast, everyone got back on the bus to the next destination, Clifton, NJ, just a couple of miles outside NYC. They got dinner and settled into their rooms before driving to Drew University, in Madison, NJ, for another doubleheader. The U20 team played the Drew JV team and the U18 team played the Drew club team. Jim Walker and the rest of the coaching staff at Drew were the referees for the friendly matches. Following the games both teams socialized and enjoyed a pizza party with their opponents.
Tuesday February 6th
This morning it was time to explore the big city. NABA headed through the Lincoln Tunnel into New York City for a day of sightseeing, shopping and eating. Following a bus tour with their guide Matt, they took a guided cruise around the island of Manhattan and an up-close view of the Statue of Liberty. They ended the evening on their own for some additional shopping and eating in Chinatown, Little Italy and Times Square.
Wednesday February 7th
After spending 2 days in the NYC area NABA moved on to their next city, Philadelphia, for a tour of the City of Brotherly Love with their guide Luanne. After the tour, the team enjoyed some famous Philly Cheesesteaks before heading to their hotel for some well needed rest. A snow storm had hit Philadelphia during the day, cancelling games for both teams at Devon Prep. Instead the team went to the Wells Fargo Center to watch St John’s defeat Villanova, the #1 team in the US.
Thursday February 8th
The next morning NABA was on the road again headed to America’s capital, Washington, DC and a tour with their guide James. After some time to explore the group headed to Alexandria, VA where their hotel was located. Both teams then had the opportunity to train with a local coach at a nearby gymnasium.
Friday February 9th
This morning after breakfast the group made its way to Woodstock, VA in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley. This evening the U18 team played the Massanutten Military Academy JV team as the U20 watched and rested for the next two day’s at The Grind Session Tournament at MMA.
Saturday February 10th
Following a restful morning the U20 played MMA, the #1 prep team in the US. It was another excellent opportunity to compete against some of the best prep basketball players in the world and gain an understanding of what the NABA players needed to do to further their careers.
Sunday February 11th
It was an early morning for NABA and another chance to compete against top level competition. In the first of five games on the day at MMA, NABA played S4G Academy from North Carolina. After getting a chance to watch some of the other four games, the group headed towards their final destination, Baltimore, and a hotel near Baltimore Washington International Airport in preparation for the next days flight.
Monday February 12th
On their final morning the group had a chance to sleep in and then pack up for their return trip to Dublin, Ireland. After checking out of the hotel, they went first to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor for a relaxing afternoon of sightseeing, last minute shopping and eating. Finally the time had come to head to the airport and the return journey home filled with great experiences and lasting memories.